Rudolph Leibel to be Honored at Pennington Biomedical Research Center

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Released: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - Rudolph L. Leibel, M.D., will receive an Honoris Causa Doctorate, or honorary doctorate degree, for his internationally recognized diabetes research at the LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 17 in New Orleans.

Dr. Rudy Liebel

Dr. Rudolph Leibel
Christopher J. Murphy Memorial 
Professor of Diabetes Research,
Columbia University

On Friday, May 18, he will be honored at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge at 11 a.m. in the Reilly Auditorium, where he will also present his work to the faculty and research staff. 

Dr. Leibel, the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research at Columbia University, was nominated for the honorary degree by Pennington Biomedical and LSUHSC for his extraordinary scientific achievement as well as for his many years of service as a member of Pennington Biomedical's External Advisory Board, and his current service as chair of the institution's Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC), which is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).  

Dr. Steven Heymsfield, M.D., executive director of Pennington Biomedical, said, "Dr. Leibel has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of the molecular genetics and developmental process related to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and body weight control by initiating the molecular cloning of the leptin gene." His recent work includes the use of human stem cells to clarify the molecular and developmental processes related to diabetes and obesity.

Having worked in obesity research for over 25 years, Dr. Leibel has served as a physician and researcher in faculty positions at Harvard University School of Medicine, Rockefeller University, Cornell University Medical College, and subsequently at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he has been since 1997. Dr. Leibel is a professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and head of the Division of Molecular Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics.  He is also co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and executive director of the Berrie Program in Cellular Therapies of Diabetes, co-director of the New York Obesity Research Center and the Columbia University Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1967.

Dr. Leibel is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the NIDDK Federal Advisory Council.  His research is funded by National Institutes of Health, American Diabetes Association, the New York State Stem Cell Science Program, the Russell Berrie and Helmsley Foundations, and Astra Zeneca.  He has published over 300 peer reviewed scientific papers, which have been cited over 13,000 times in the world scientific literature. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, International Journal of Obesity, and Obesity Research, and has received numerous awards for scientific and pioneering work in medical research. 


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.